Melissa Stiksma

Melissa Stiksma

Graduate Research Assistant

Worker well-being, mental and physical health, research design and measurement

I am a doctoral candidate in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program conducting research in the topics of worker well-being, decision-making, and overall organizational psychology. I also have work experience as a People Analyst at an HR well-being startup. Prior to switching to IO, I completed 2 years in the Clinical PhD program at GMU, publishing research, treating clients with mental health disorders, and focusing on the intersection of mental health, personality, and well-being. 

I have a number of consulting experiences in research design and statistics and a wide variety of psychological topics relevant to industries of technology, healthcare, non-profits, and education. I have six publications spanning topics in occupational health and policy, mental health, social relationships, and personality. 

Previously, I received my Master's degree in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University (F.A.U.) under Ryne Sherman's advisement. My thesis analyzed data collected through a National Science Foundation grant on cross-cultural personality, mindfulness, and clinical symptoms. As the principal investigator, I lived in Japan during the summer of 2014 to oversee the collection of data with her collaborators at the University of Tsukuba. 


Selected Publications

  • Kuykendall, L., Craig, L., Stiksma, M., & Guarino, K. (2020). Understanding employees’ unused vacation days: A social cognitive approach. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.
  • Goodman, F. R., Kashdan, T. B., Stiksma, M. C., & Blalock, D. V. (2019). Personal strivings to understand anxiety disorders: Social anxiety as an exemplar. Clinical Psychological Science, 7, 283-301.
  • Kashdan, T. B., Stiksma, M. C., Disabato, D. J., McKnight, P. E., Bekier, J., Kaji, J., & Lazarus, R. (2018). The five-dimensional curiosity scale: Capturing the bandwidth of curiosity and identifying four unique subgroups of curious people. Journal of Research in Personality, 73, 130-149.
  • Goodman, F. R., Stiksma, M. C., & Kashdan, T. B. (2018). Social anxiety and the quality of everyday social interactions: The moderating influence of alcohol consumption. Behavior therapy, 49, 373-387.

Courses Taught

  • Psychology of Intimate Relationships, Psychological Tests & Measurement, Science of Well-Being, Psychology of Gender, College to Career in Psychology, and Research Methods in Psychology
  • Teaching assistant for Graduate-level: Longitudinal Data Analysis


May 2015 - Master of Arts in Psychology - Florida Atlantic University - Boca Raton, Florida 

May 2013 - Bachelor of Arts - Concentration in Psychology, Minor in Anthropology - Wilkes Honors College - Jupiter, Florida